Category Archives: People of Interest

Caesar´s Germanic Cavalry: An Elite Fighting Force

Welcome to Rome Across Europe!

If this is your initial time joining us, we appreciate you stopping in to check us out. If you’ve been here before, thanks for thinking enough of us to come back for more.

On a site dedicated to the History of Rome and traveling to various regions to discover cool places and amazing things within what was the Imperium Rōmānum (Roman Empire), we couldn’t not discuss one of the most polarizing and charismatic people to grace the pages of antiquity. Love him or hate him, Gaius Julius Caesar was a man known among everyone in Ancient Rome.

How was it that Germanic tribesmen began so trusted upon by one of Rome’s greatest Generals? When did their use come into fashion for Rome? Let’s find out!

Caesar’s German Auxiliary Cavalry

Time and again, Caesar’s German Cavalry had more than proven their worth. In Gallia, they gave Caesar the advantage over hostile horsemen while alongside siege craft in Alesia they helped bring about Caesar’s victory.

In Greece, Caesar’s Germans proved that they could fight as well on foot as they could on horseback, then in Egypt they helped clinch the victory over Ptolemy XII Auletes.

Bronze statue of Julius Caesar (Rimini, Italy).

Few in number, Caesar treated his German Cavalry as elite, often holding them in reserve until the situation became desperate. It was then, that Caesar’s elite German warriors could decisively influence the course of a war.

But it this wasn’t always the case. Of course, the Romans had used neighboring people as Auxilia though never in such an esteemed role as Caesar held his non-Romans.

By the time of Julius Caesar’s Gallic War (58-51 BC), it appears that the typical Equites Romani  (Roman Cavalry) may have disappeared altogether, and that Caesar was entirely dependent on allied Gallic contingents for his cavalry operations. This is deduced from an incident in 58 BC when Caesar was invited to a parley with the German king Ariovistus and needed a cavalry escort.

Since he didn’t yet trust the allied Gallic cavalry under his command, Caesar instructed them to lend their horses to some members his Legiōnēs. Thus was the beginning of the Legio X Equestris (10th Mounted Legion).

The infamous Legio X Equestris

After Caesar had beaten back German tribal intrusions into Gallia in 58 and 55 BC, the Germans decided to join Caesar. Four hundred strong, they were there as a both a show of goodwill and trust as well as for the loot and glory in battle.

Julius Caesar’s Germanic tribesmen were tall, muscular men with skin toughened by the elements and scarred from battle wounds. Hailing from the Usipetes and from the Tencteri, these tribesmen were built for war armed with spears, swords, shields, and helmets.

That the Germans would fight for former foes was not at all unusual. What mattered to them was that they got the spoils promised or deserved.

The Roman troops of Julius Caesar prepare to face the Helvetii and their allies at the Battle of Bibracte in 58 BC.

Caesar was impressed by the martial spirit of the Germans.  He wrote that, though in the past the Gauls had been more warlike than the Germans, the Gauls had come to “not even pretend to compete with the Germans in bravery”.

Caesar valued his German warriors so highly, that he replaced their pony-like horses with the larger steeds of his bodyguard, Tribunus Militum (Military Tribunes), and Equites (Knights). It was in 52 BC, during the final and most critical year of Caesar’s Gallic War, when his fortunes would fall to an all time low, that his German Cavalry would rise to the occasion.

As Caesar was accepting the surrender of the town of Noviodunum Biturigum, the cavalry of Gallic King Vercingetorix appeared. Caesar ordered his Allied Gallic Cavalry to take the field.

Caesar’s Cavalry Charge

Caesar’s Gauls had the worst of the ensuing fight, prompting Caesar to commit his 400 Germans. With a furious charge, the Germans scattered the enemy and inflicted heavy casualties.

Vercingetorix, however, regained the initiative with a defensive victory at Gergovia. With many of his Gallic allies having switched sides, Caesar recruited another 600 German tribal cavalry and light troops from across the Rhine.

In Gallia Narbonensis, Vercingetorix again attacked Caesar. The sudden appearance of Vercingetorix caught Caesar unprepared, but the Gallic cavalry failed to close in for combat with the Romans.

North face of the Mausoleum of the Julii in Glanum, southern France, showing a cavalry battle (c. 40 BC).

Meanwhile, Caesar’s Auxiliary Cavalry kept the enemy at bay which allowed his Legionaries to form a defensive square. It was at this moment when Caesar’s German Cavalry gained the summit of a nearby hill.

Never content with being on the defensive, Caesar’s Germans routed a body of Gallic horsemen and hurled them back upon their own infantry. The rout caused the entire Gallic cavalry to flee like rats from a sinking ship.

The Gauls placed the greatest reliance on their cavalry, and with its defeat their spirits sank. Vercingetorix retreated to the stronghold town of Alesia.

Perched on a plateau and surrounded by hills and streams, Alesia seemed impervious to assault. In addition to its supreme defensive location, there were ramparts below the town, a 6-foot wall, and a trench to enclose the Vercingetorix’s camp.

The Fortifications built by Caesar in Alesia according to the hypothesis of the location in Alise-Sainte-Reine.

Caesar surrounded the Alesia with over 14-miles of 2 concentric rings of earthworks, ditches, ramparts, spikes, stakes, covered pits, forts, and camps. An inner ring of fortifications faced the defenders of Alesia, while an outer ring protected the Romans from the anticipated Gallic relief army.

Construction of the Roman fortifications was still going on when Vercingetorix’s cavalry sallied out of the Gallic camp. Numbering close to 10,000 men, the Gauls were met in battle by Caesar’s Cavalry.

Romans vs Gauls in the Battle of Alesia.

The fighting swept over a 3-mile stretch of plains between the hills. The Gallic horsemen gained the upper hand over Caesar’s Auxiliary Gallic and Spanish Cavalry, but once again Caesar had kept his Germans in reserve.

Just as before, Caesar’s Germans turned the tide and harried the Gauls back against either their outer wall or trench. Behind the attacking Germans, the Roman Legions readied for battle.

Below them at the camp ramparts, frantic Gauls jammed up the narrow gates as they abandoned their horses to scramble across the trench and up the wall. The Germans were right behind them, swords slashing and spears thrusting.

Riding down their panicked foes and capturing a number of horses into the bargain, Caesar’s German Cavalry galloped on. Vercingetorix was forced to remain on the defensive, and even sent out his own cavalry to raise a relief army among the nearby tribes.

Roman Cavalry counter attacks a Celtic force which is attacking the Romans that are laying siege during the Battle of Alesia.

As the siege dragged on, the rebellious Gauls and non-combatants of Alesia were reduced to near starvation. Their spirits rose with the sighting of the arrival of the Gallic relief army under Commius, King of the Atrebates, who had an army estimated at 120,000 men (or 3-times larger than Caesar’s worn down men).

With his Legionaries defending against Vercingetorix’ men, Caesar sent his Cavalry to engage Commius’ troops. The hard fought battle lasted until the sun neared the horizon.

Caesar’s Germans then massed all their squadrons for a charge. The German Cavalry struck Commius’ Gallic horsemen like lightning, causing the Gallic cavalry to flee and thus allowing his archers to be easily cut down.

Vercingetorix Throws Down his Arms at the Feet of Julius Caesar by Lionel Royer (1899).

A second Gallic assault at night died in the fire of Roman siege engines, and a third attack saw Caesar’s Cavalry seemingly destroy Commius’ infantry from the rear. With no help left, Vercingetorix surrendered more or less bringing an end to the Gallic Wars.

Caesar plunged the Roman Republic into the Great Civil War of 50 BC, when he marched his Legions across the Rubicon and into Italy. For 4 years, Caesar’s Gallic and Germanic Cavalry accompanied his Legions through the Civil War against the Pompeians and the interludes of the Egyptian and Pontic wars.

Caesar Crossing the Rubicon

In 48 BC, Caesar blocked Pompey from reaching his supply base at Dyrrachium only to find his own supply route to Italy severed by Pompey’s naval dominance of the Adriatic. When Pompey tried to break through Caesar’s entrenchments, the Germans fought on foot beside Caesar’s Legions.

The German sortie slew several Pompeians before returning back to Caesar’s camp. Nevertheless, Pompey eventually managed to pierce the blockade.

Caesar’s force was demoralized, low on supplies, and forced to withdraw into Thessalia. Caesar stormed the defiant town of Gomfoi and gave it over to be ransacked by his half-starved troops.

Battle of Pharsalus

The whole army, especially the Germans, embarked on an orgy of gluttony and drinking. At Pharsalus, Caesar overthrew Pompey’s initially successful cavalry charge and inflicted a crushing defeat.

Pompey fled to Egypt where the ministers of Ptolemy XII assassinated him. After a lightning campaign against Pharnaces II of Pontus, who had occupied Armenia and Cappadocia, Caesar returned to Italy.

In 46 BC, Caesar continued the war against the followers of Pompey in North Africa. At first Caesar was vastly outnumbered, but after being reinforced he was able to bring the campaign to a victorious end at Thapsus.

Caesar rallying his Tenth Legion at Munda.

The Great Civil War was brought to an end in 45 BC, when Caesar faced the last Pompeius’ forces at Munda. Caesar possessed 8 Legions with over 8,000 cavalry, including his veteran Gauls and Germans, plus King Bogud of Maurentia with his corps of Moorish horsemen.

The Legio X Equestris caved in the enemy’s left flank. The Cavalry, with Bogud in the lead, vanquished the enemy horsemen and fell upon the enemy’s flank and rear.

Caesar returned to Rome and became Dictator. For their allegiance and service to him, Caesar rewarded his veteran Legionaries with a generous gift of gold coins equal to 27 years pay (not too shabby).

Caesar disbanded his Praetorian Guard and his Spanish Cohortes (Tactical Military Units). Likely his Gallic and German Cavalry disbanded as well, with plunder and coin, and maybe even the coveted Roman citizenship.

Rome’s German Warriors

Upon the Assassination of Julius Caesar in 44 BC, a new civil war erupted. No doubt, this gave many of Caesar’s Germans a chance for more military service for the Romans.

Fierce, fast, and ferocious, the Germanic Cavalry of Julius Caesar inspired those who would become Emperor to charge the Germans with their protection. This trend would last until the Sack of Rome by the Visigoths (Germanic peoples), and ultimately lead to the Fall of the Western Roman Empire.

While it lasted, the Germanic Auxilia of was a thing of beauty. We hope you enjoyed today’s adventure and look forward to having you back again.

Till next time, Don’t Stop Rome-ing!

 

References:

Appian, Appian’s Roman History. Vol. III. Trans. Horace White. William, Heinemann LTD, 1964.

Caesar. The Conquest of Gaul. Penguin Books, 1982.

Cowan, Ross. ‘Head-Hunting Roman Cavalry‘, Military Illustrated 274 (March 2011).

Delbrück, Hans. The Barbarian Invasions. trans. Walter J. Renfroe. University of Nebraska Press, 1990.

Dyke, Ludwig. ¨Caesar’s Elite Germanic Cavalry¨. War History Online, 8 June 2016.

Fuller, J.F.C. Julius Caesar, Man, Soldier, and Tyrant. Da Capo Press, 1965.

Goldsworthy, Adrian Keith. The Roman Army at War 100 BC-AD 200. Oxford Claredon Press, 1998.

Macdowall, Simon. Germanic Warrior 236-568 AD. Osprey Publishing, 1996.

Macdowall, Simon. The Late Roman Cavalryman 236-565 AD. Osprey Publishing, 1999.

McCall, Jeremiah. The Cavalry of the Roman Republic. Routledge, 2002.

Wilcox, Peter and Trevino, Rafael. Barbarians Against Rome. Osprey Publishing, 2000.

Plato’s Best (and Worst) Ideas

Welcome to Rome Across Europe!

Today we go back before the Founding of Rome to Ancient Greece as we see Wisecrack‘s take on Plato’s Best (and Worst) Ideas!

Roman copy of a portrait bust by Silanion for the Academia in Athens (c. 370 BC).

Few individuals have influenced the world and many of today’s thinkers like Plato. He created the original Western university and was teacher to Ancient Greece’s greatest minds, including Aristotle.

But even he wasn’t perfect. Along with his great ideas, Plato had a few that haven’t exactly stood the test of time. Wisecrack gives a brief rundown of a few of Plato’s best and worst ideas.

We hope you enjoyed today’s philosophical journey and look forward to having you back soon. Be sure to check us out on Facebook and Twitter.

Till next time, Don’t Stop Rome-ing!

Gaius Marcius Coriolanus: Legendary General or Man of Myth

Welcome to Rome Across Europe!

With so much to discuss about Ancient Rome, sometimes we ask ourselves were to begin or what to share today? We all know that events abound during this historical period from the Founding of Rome through the Decline of the Byzantine Empire, and that numerous people stood out as well.

Having recently watched the move Coriolanus, starring Ralph Fiennes and Gerard Butler, we were curious if this was the imagination of William Shakespeare or if this was truth. In any case, the story was awesome (check out our take on the film here – Ralph Fiennes Presents William Shakespeare’s ‘Coriolanus’) and the search for the truth would be worth it.

Join us today as we hunt for the real Gaius Marcius Coriolanus!

Gaius Marcius Coriolanus

Gaius Marcius (Caius Martius) Coriolanus was a Roman General who is said to have lived in the 5th Century BC. In later ancient times, it was generally accepted by historians that Coriolanus was a real historical individual, and a consensus narrative story of his life appeared, retold by leading historians such as LivyPlutarch, and Dionysius of Halicarnassus.

Map of Coriolanus’ Campaigns

Coriolanus came to fame as a young man serving in the Army of the Consul Postumus Cominius Auruncus in 493 BC during the siege of the Volscian town of Corioli. While the Romans were focused on the siege, another Volscian force arrived from Antium (modern Anzio and Nettuno) and attacked the Romans.

It was at this moment that the besieged soldiers of Corioli also launched a counter-attack against the Romans. Marcius, who held watch at the time of the Volscian attack, quickly gathered a small force of Roman soldiers to fight against the rallying Volscians from Corioli.

Not only did Marcius repel the enemy, but he also charged through the town gates and began setting fire to some of the houses bordering the town wall. The citizens of Corioli cried out, and the whole Volscian force was dispirited and was ultimately defeated by the Romans.

Land of the Volsci

The town was captured by the Romans, at least in part due to Marcius. He received the toponymic cognomen “Coriolanus” because of his exceptional valor in the siege of said Volscian city.

In 491 BC, just 2 years after the victory over the Volscians, Rome was recovering from a grain shortage. A significant quantity of grain was imported from Sicily, and the Senatus Romanus (Roman Senate) debated the manner in which it should be distributed to the Plebis (Common People).

Coriolanus advocated that the provision of grain should be dependent upon the reversal of the pro-Plebeian political reforms arising from the First Secessio Plebis (494 BC). The Senate thought Coriolanus’ proposal was too harsh.

The populace were infuriated at Coriolanus’ proposal, and the Tribuni (Tribunes) subsequently put him on trial. The Senators argued for the acquittal of Coriolanus, or at the least a merciful sentence.

Tom Hiddleston as Caius Martius Coriolanus

Coriolanus refused to attend on the day of his trial, and he was convicted. He was subsequently exiled from Rome.

Oddly enough, Coriolanus fled to the Volsci in exile. He was received and treated kindly, and resided with the Volscian leader Attius Tullus Aufidius.

Plutarch’s account of his defection tells that Coriolanus donned a disguise and entered the home of Aufidius as a supplicant. It was almost as if Coriolanus was hoping this would be made into a movie or play one day.

Coriolanus and Aufidius then persuaded the Volscians to break their truce with Rome and raise an army to then invade Rome itself. Livy recounts that Aufidius tricked the Senatus Romanus into expelling the Volsci from Rome during the celebration of the Ludi Romani (Great Games), thereby stirring up ill-will among the Volsci.

Ralph Fiennes (front left) as Coriolanus with Gerard Butler (front right) as Attius Tullus Aufidius.

Coriolanus and Aufidius led the Volscian army against Roman towns, coloniae (colonies) and allies. Following this Volscian victory, Roman colonists were then expelled from Circeii.

The pair then campaigned and retook the formerly Volscian towns of SatricumLongulaPollusca, and Corioli. The Volscian army followed this by taking Lavinium, CorbioVitelliaTrebiaLavici, and finally Pedum.

From there the Volsci marched on Rome and besieged it. The Volscians initially camped at the Fossae Cluiliae (Cluilian Trench), 5 miles outside Rome, and ravaged the countryside. Coriolanus directed the Volsci to target plebeian properties and to spare the patricians’.

Coriolanus at the Walls of Rome.

The Consuls, now Spurius Nautius Rutilus and Sextus Furius Medullinus Fusus, readied the defenses of Rome. But the Plebeians implored them to sue for peace.

The Senate was convened, and it was agreed to send petitioners to the enemy. Initially ambassadors were sent, but Coriolanus sent back a negative response.

The ambassadors were sent back to the Volsci, but were refused entry to the enemy camp. Next priests adorned in their regalia were sent by the Romans, but achieved nothing more than had the ambassadors.

Veturia at the Feet of Coriolanus by Gaspare Landi.

Then Coriolanus’ mother Veturia (known as Volumnia in Shakespeare’s play) and his wife Volumnia (known as Virgilia in Shakespeare’s play) and his 2 sons, together with the matrons of Rome, went out to the Volscian camp and implored Coriolanus to cease his attack on Rome. Coriolanus was overcome by their pleas, and moved the Volscian camp back from the city, ending the siege.

Rome honored the service of these women by the erection of a temple dedicated to Fortuna (a female deity). Coriolanus’ fate after this point is unclear, but it seems he took no further part in the war.

One version says that Coriolanus retired to Aufidius’ home city of Antium. Coriolanus had committed acts of disloyalty to both Rome and the Volsci, and Aufidius raised support to have Coriolanus first put on trial by the Volscians, and then assassinated before the trial had ended.

Plutarch’s tale of Coriolanus’ appeal to Aufidius is quite similar to a tale from the life of Themistocles, a leader of the Athenian democracy who was a contemporary of Coriolanus. During Themistocles’ exile from Athens, he travelled to the home of Admetus, King of the Molossians, a man who was his personal enemy.

Themistocles

Themistocles came to Admetus in disguise and appealed to him as a fugitive, just as Coriolanus appealed to Aufidius. Themistocles, however, never attempted military retaliation against Athens.

More recent scholarship has cast doubt on the historicity of Coriolanus. Some portray Coriolanus as either a wholly legendary figure, or at least disputing the accuracy of the conventional story of his life or the timing of the events.

According to Plutarch, his ancestors included prominent patricians such as Censorinus and even an early Rex Romae (King of Rome).

Other modern scholars question parts of the story of Coriolanus. It is notable that accounts of Coriolanus’ life are initially found in works from the 3rd Century BC, some 200 years after Coriolanus’ life. There are few authoritative historical records prior to the Gallic sack of Rome in 390 BC.

Whether or not Coriolanus himself is a historical figure, the saga preserves a genuine popular memory of the dark, unhappy decades of the early 5th Century BC when the Volscians overran Latium and threatened the very existence of Rome. The story is the basis for The Tragedy of Coriolanus, written by William Shakespeare, and a number of other works, including Beethoven’s Coriolan Overture (based not on Shakespeare but on the play Coriolan by Heinrich Joseph von Collin).

Shakespeare’s Coriolanus is the last of his “Roman plays”. Its portrayal of the hero has led to a long tradition of political interpretation of Coriolanus as an anti-populist, or even proto-fascist leader.

President Coriolanus Snow in the film The Hunger Games.

Bertolt Brecht‘s version of Coriolanus (1951) is one of those that stresses this anti-populist view. Suzanne Collins also references the anti-populist interpretation in The Hunger Games trilogy with her character President Coriolanus Snow, a totalitarian dictator who preserves order in the degenerate society of the books, though this character has little in common with the figure Coriolanus.

Heinrich Joseph von Collin‘s 1804 play Coriolan portrayed him in the context of German romantic ideas of the tragic hero. Beethoven’s 1807 Coriolan Overture was written for a production of the von Collin play.

T. S. Eliot wrote a sequence of poems in 1931 entitled Coriolan. Shakespeare’s play also forms the basis of the 2011 motion picture Coriolanus, starring and directed by Ralph Fiennes, in which Coriolanus is the protagonist.

This is the front cover art for the book Roma: The Novel of Ancient Rome written by Steven Saylor.

Steven Saylor‘s 2007 novel Roma presents Coriolanus as a Plebeian, the child of a Patricius (Patrician) mother and Plebeian father. His attitudes toward the changes occurring in Rome during his lifetime are reflective of what has been described.

He achieves Senatorial status thanks to his military valor and connections. When he calls for the abolition of the office of Tribune, he becomes a target of the Plebeians and their representatives.

Coriolanus flees before the trial which would ruin him and his family socially and financially, and seeks the alliance with the Volsci described above. His military campaign against Rome is successful and his forces are approaching the walls of the city until the appeal of the Roman women, including his Patrician mother and his wife. When he orders his troops to withdraw, he is killed by them.

The front cover art for the book The 48 Laws of Power written by Robert Greene.

The 48 Laws of Power uses Coriolanus as an example of violating Law #4: “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” citing his constant insulting of the plebeians as the reason for his exile.

We appreciate you joining us on the adventure to find the truth about Coriolanus. Since it seems inconclusive, we hope that you will make an informed decision on your own.

Thanks again for stopping by. Please make sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Till next time, Don’t Stop Rome-ing!

 

References:

Lendering, Jona. “Gnaeus Marcius Coriolanus”.

LivyAb Urbe Condita.

Vittucci, Paola Brandizzi. Antium: Anzio e Nettuno in epoca romana. Bardi, 2000 ISBN 88-85699-83-9.

Willett, John. The Theatre of Bertolt Brecht: A Study from Eight Aspects. Methuen, 1959.

The Life of Coriolanus – Full text of 17th-century English translation by John Dryden (HTML)

The Life of Coriolanus – Full text of 19th-century English translation by Aubrey Stewart and George Long (multiple formats for download)

Coriolanus – Full text of Shakespeare’s play based on Plutarch (HTML)

Anya Rose’s Animated ‘Julius Caesar’

Welcome to Rome Across Europe!

John Wilkes Booth (left), Edwin Booth and Junius Brutus Booth, Jr. in Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar in 1864.

I don’t know if it’s my lack of time for original ideas, or the fact I love things that are mainstays in history across the board from people to literature to film but I feel the need to share this now. Feeling inspired from yesterday’s post, Mark Antony’s Speech in “Julius Caesar” by William Shakespeare, I feel the need to share both Shakespeare‘s play and connect with a younger audience at the same time.

When I came across this video I just couldn’t resist, so we now present Anya Rose’s Animated ‘Julius Caesar‘!

Believed to have been written in 1599, this is one of several plays written by Shakespeare based on true events from Roman history that also include Coriolanus and Antony and Cleopatra.

Julius Caesar was originally published in the First Folio of 1623, but a performance was mentioned by Thomas Platter the Younger in his diary in September 1599. Based on a number of contemporary allusions, and the belief that the play is similar to Hamlet in vocabulary, and to Henry V and As You Like It in metre, scholars have suggested 1599 as a probable date of creation.

With so many versions, both on stage and on the big screen, having taken place there is no doubt of the significance of this piece. Granted Shakespeare has put out lots of quality work, few works maybe aside from Romeo and Juliet or Hamlet stand out more than Julius Caesar.

If we have inspired you here to take a peek at either the written, stage, or film version of Julius Caesar then we have been successful. If you don’t care at all, we’re shocked you even made it to this sentence.

No matter what, Don’t Stop Rome-ing!

 

Mark Antony’s Speech in “Julius Caesar” by William Shakespeare

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So much we get caught up with the people that made history, that we forget the messages that made these folks famous. Apparently we’ve fallen for the adage of actions speaking louder than words.

Today that is not going to be the case as we take a quick glimpse into Mark Antony‘s funeral speech for Julius Caesar in William Shakespeare‘s play Julius Caesar.

So Friends, Romans, Countrymen, lend me your ears!

In the turmoil surrounding the assassination, Antony escaped Rome dressed as a slave, fearing Caesar’s death would be the start of a bloodbath among his supporters. When this did not occur, he soon returned to Rome.

The conspirators, who styled themselves the Liberatores (The Liberators), had barricaded themselves on the Capitoline Hill for their own safety. Though they believed Caesar’s death would restore the Res Publica Romana (Roman Republic), Caesar had been immensely popular with the Roman middle and lower classes, who became enraged upon learning a small group of aristocrats had killed their champion.

Antony has been allowed by Brutus and the other conspirators to make a funeral oration for Caesar on condition that he not blame them for Caesar’s death. However, while Antony’s speech outwardly begins by justifying the actions of Brutus and the assassins (“I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him”), Antony uses rhetoric and genuine reminders to ultimately portray Caesar in such a positive light that the crowd are enraged against the conspirators.

Throughout his speech, Antony calls the conspirators “honourable men” with his implied sarcasm becoming increasingly obvious. Antony begins by carefully rebutting the notion that his friend, Caesar deserved to die because he was ambitious, instead claiming that his actions were for the good of the Roman people, whom he cared for deeply.

When that the poor have cried, Caesar hath wept: Ambition should be made of sterner stuff.

Mark Antony giving Caesar’s funeral speech in the Forum.

Antony then teases the crowd with Caesar’s will, which they beg him to read, but he refuses. Antony tells the crowd to “have patience” and expresses his feeling that he will “wrong the honourable men whose daggers have stabbed Caesar” if he is to read the will.

The crowd, increasingly agitated, calls the conspirators “traitors” and demands that Antony read out the will. After that Antony deals his final blow by revealing to the crowd Caesar’s will, in which it states:

To every Roman citizen he gives, To every several man seventy-five drachmas as well as land.

He ends his speech at which point the crowd begin to riot and search out the assassins with the intention of killing them. Pleased, Antony knows the course that will be played out.

If you have not yet seen, nor read, the Shakespeare play Julius Caesar we highly suggest you do so ASAP. We hope you enjoyed today’s journey and look forward to having you back again soon.

Till next time, Don’t Stop Rome-ing!

The Story of Cleopatra – An Animated Movie (Great for Kids)

Welcome to Rome Across Europe!

It’s been a busy time with our little boy growing up and running around everywhere, along with my studying for my teacher’s certification. It feels as if there’s no time for anything else.

Because there’s no time, and this got me thinking about any of our friends out there who may have younger children, we thought today we’d share a video geared towards any youngsters.

Today we present to you an animated story of Cleopatra!

We hope you enjoyed this animated presentation and look forward to having more time to provide new, exciting content in the future. Thanks for understanding.

Till next time, Don’t Stop Rome-ing!

Mary Beard on SPQR: The History of Ancient Rome

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Have we got a treat for you. Since we love Ancient Rome and all things encompassed by that title, there’s a few people alive today that just have a finger on the pulse of what honestly and truly took place all those centuries ago.

We are excited to present Mary Beard on SPQR: The History of Ancient Rome!

“Beard’s popularizing bent is grounded in a deep knowledge of the arcane, and she gives new insight into the hoariest of topics,” wrote Rebecca Mead in The New Yorker. This fall, the Cambridge Professor launches SPQR, A History of Ancient Rome, with massive fanfare. How to discover why celebrities turn up to her book events, why she’s considered one of the world’s foremost classicists and why, after hearing her speak, you’ll never think of Julius Caesar, Cicero or Black in the same way again.

This video was published on 10 November 2015. If you enjoyed the video please share what stood out for you.

We hope that you enjoyed this exemplary presentation into one of the most interesting and world-altering societies of humankind. We look forward to having you back again.

Till next time, Don’t Stop Rome-ing

Caesar in Gaul: Makin’ Waves (56 BC)

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If you are new to RAE, then welcome to the show. If you’ve been around before, then you probably have realized our fascination with the one and only Gaius Julius Caesar.

When we came across a way to share more about the man who was without a doubt so impactful on the Res Publica Romana (Roman Republic), and what would become the Imperium Rōmānum (Roman Empire) after his assassination, there was no way to pass it up.

So, without further ado, we bring to you Caesar’s Gallic Wars!

Vercingetorix Throws Down His Arms at the Feet of Julius Caesar, by Lionel Noel Royer (1899).

 

In case you missed our previous posts from Caesar’s invasions of Britain, you can check out Part I and Part II.

The Gallic Wars were a series of military campaigns waged by the Roman Proconsul Julius Caesar against several Gallic tribes. Rome’s war against the Gallic tribes lasted from 58 BC to 50 BC and culminated in the decisive Battle of Alesia in 52 BC, in which a complete Roman victory resulted in the expansion of the Roman Republic over the whole of Gaul (mainly present-day France and Belgium).

Although Caesar portrayed this invasion as being a preemptive and defensive action, most historians agree that the wars were fought primarily to boost Caesar’s political career and to pay off his massive debts. The Gallic Wars are described by Julius Caesar in his book Commentarii de Bello Gallico, which remains the most important historical source regarding the conflict.

We hope you enjoyed all the video presentations about Caesar. Be sure to check back with us soon for we never know who, or where, we’ll journey.

Till next time, Don’t Stop Rome-ing!

Caesar in Britain II – There and Back Again (54 BC)

Welcome to Rome Across Europe!

If you are new to RAE, then welcome to the show. If you’ve been around before, then you probably have realized our fascination with the one and only Gaius Julius Caesar.

When we came across a way to share more about the man who was without a doubt so impactful on the Res Publica Romana (Roman Republic), and what would become the Imperium Rōmānum (Roman Empire) after his assassination, there was no way to pass it up.

So, without further ado, we bring to you Caesar in Britain – Part 2!

Caesar’s 2nd Invasion of Britain on the beachhead

 

In case you missed Part I, feel free to take a quick look back here.

During the course of his Gallic Wars, Julius Caesar invaded Britain twice. The original invasion, in late summer of 55 BC, would be considered unsuccessful, gaining the Romans little else besides a beachhead on the coast of Kent.

The next invasion did achieve more. The Romans installed a king, Mandubracius, who was friendly to Rome, and they forced the submission of Mandubracius’s rival, Cassivellaunus.

The bottom line was that no territory was conquered and held for Rome. Instead, all Roman-occupied territory was restored to the allied Trinovantes, along with the promised tribute of the other tribes in what is now eastern England.

As we all know, however, that would not be the end of Julius Caesar. He would go on to campaign in Gallia (Gaul), which we will share with you soon.

Till next time, Don’t Stop Rome-ing!

From Centurion to Saint: The Path of Longinus

Welcome to Rome Across Europe!

For our readers of the Christian faith, our Lenten journey is coming to an end. Hopefully  all of the prayer, doing penancerepentance of sins, almsgivingatonement, and self-denial was not too taxing.

Since it is Good Friday today, that means Easter Sunday is right around the corner. The stories of Easter and the Nativity of Jesus (aka Christmas) are easily the most recognizable, even for those not following the faith.

Keeping that in mind, today we take a look into the life of a man who played a part of the Easter story as we explore the life of Longinus!

Saint Longinus in Bom Jesus do Monte (Tenões, Portugal).

Longinus is a legendary name of Christian history given in medieval and some modern Christian traditions to the Roman soldier who pierced Jesus in his side with a lance, the Holy Lance (Lancea) during the Crucifixion. This act created the last of the Five Holy Wounds of Christ.

This individual, unnamed in the Gospels, is further identified in legend as the Centurion present at the Crucifixion, who testified “This man certainly was the Son of God.” But who was this Roman who left us with a single, very cool quote?

View of Cappadocian landscape

In tradition, he is called Cassius before his conversion to Christianity, and was said to be born in Cappadocia. However, an old tradition links the birthplace of Longinus with the village of Anxanum (Lanciano), Samnite territory, in today’s Abruzzo region of Central-Southern Italy.

Longinus did not start out as a saint, especially since no name for him was actually given in the Gospels. The name Longinus is instead found in the pseudepigraphal Gospel of Nicodemus that was appended to the apocryphal Acts of Pilate.

An early tradition, found in the 4th Century pseudepigraphal “Letter of Herod to Pilate“, claims that Longinus suffered for having pierced Jesus. He was supposedly condemned to a cave, where every night a lion came and mauled him until dawn. Every morning his body healed back to normal, in a pattern that would repeat till the end of time.

Later traditions turned him into a Christian convert, but as Sabine Baring-Gould observed:

The name of Longinus was not known to the Greeks previous to the patriarch Germanus, in AD 715. There is no reliable authority for the Acts and martyrdom of this saint.

Jesus’ side is pierced with a spear, Fra Angelico (circa 1440), Dominican monastery of San Marco, Florence.

The name is probably Latinized from the Greek lonche, the word used for the lance mentioned in John 19:34. It first appears lettered on an illumination of the Crucifixion beside the figure of the soldier holding a spear.

Written, perhaps contemporaneously, the name is in horizontal Greek letters, LOGINOS (ΛΟΓΙΝΟC). This was mentioned in the Syriac gospel manuscript illuminated by a certain Rabulas in the year 586 AD, housed in the Laurentian Library, Florence.

The spear used is now known as the Holy Lance, and even more recently as the Spear of Destiny, which was revered at Jerusalem by the 6th Century, although neither the Centurion nor the name Longinus were invoked in any surviving report. As the Lance of Longinus, the spear figures in the legends of the Holy Grail.

In some medieval folklore, such as the Golden Legend, the touch of Jesus’s blood cures his blindness:

Christian legend has it that Longinus was a blind Roman centurion who thrust the spear into Christ’s side at the crucifixion. Some of Jesus’s blood fell upon his eyes and he was healed. Upon this miracle Longinus believed in Jesus.

Veneration of Longinus

Longinus is said to have subsequently converted to Christianity after the Crucifixion, and returned to his home in Cappadocia where he made many conversions. He was sentenced to torture and death by beheading under the orders of Pontius Pilate, the Governor of the Roman Judaea who presided over the trial of Jesus and ordered his crucifixion.

The body of Longinus is said to have been lost twice. Its latter recovery was at Mantua in 1304, together with the Holy Sponge stained with Christ’s blood, wherewith it was told that Longinus had assisted in cleansing Christ’s body when it was taken down from the cross.

It was at this time that Longinus’ role was extended into an almost mythical state. The relic, corpuscles of alleged blood taken from the Holy Lance, enjoyed a revived cult in late 13th Century Bologna under the combined drive of the Grail romances, the local tradition of Eucharistic miracles, the chapel consecrated to Longinus, the Holy Blood in the Benedictine monastery church of Sant’Andrea, and the patronage of the Bonacolsi.

Frescoe of Longinus in Basilica of St Peter and St Paul (Vyšehrad, Prague).

The relics are said to have been divided and then distributed to Prague and elsewhere, with the body taken to the Basilica of Sant’Agostino in Rome. However, official guides of the Basilica do not mention the presence of any tomb associated with Saint Longinus.

It is also said that the body of Longinus was found in Sardinia. Greek sources assert that he suffered martyrdom in Gabala, Cappadocia.

Longinus’ legend grew over the. He is traditionally venerated as a saint in the Roman Catholic ChurchEastern Orthodox Church, and several other Christian communions.

There are two categories of saints: martyr and confessors. A Christian martyr is regarded as one who is put to death for his Christian faith or convictions, while confessors are people who died natural deaths.

Longinus is venerated, generally as a martyr, in the Roman Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church, and the Armenian Apostolic Church. His feast day is kept on 15 March in the Roman Martyrology, which mentions him, without any indication of martyrdom, in the following terms:

At Jerusalem, commemoration of Saint Longinus, who is venerated as the soldier opening the side of the crucified Lord with a lance.

St. Longinus is the patron of Mantua which is where his relics are preserved. There is a patron for virtually every cause, profession or special interest, so prayers are considered more likely to be answered by asking a patron directly for intercession on their behalf.

Bernini’s statue of Saint Longinus (Saint Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City).

The statue of Saint Longinus, sculpted by Gian Lorenzo Bernini, is 1 of 4 in the niches beneath the dome of Saint Peter’s BasilicaVatican City. A spear point fragment from the Holy Lance is also conserved in the Basilica.

It is helpful to be able to recognize Saint Longinus in paintings, stained glass windows, illuminated manuscripts, architecture and other forms of Christian art. Since artistic representations reflect the life or death of saints, or an aspect of life with which the person is most closely associated, Saint Longinus is represented in Christian Art wearing the uniform of a Roman soldier, and has a lance or spear in his hand.

In Irving Pichel‘s 1939 film, The Great CommandmentAlbert Dekker portrays Longinus as the commanding officer of a Roman Army company escorting a tax collector about Judea. Subsequently, he is converted to Christianity through the kindness of Joel bar Lamech and by his own experiences at Golgotha.

John Wayne as Longinus in The Greatest Story Ever Told.

In the George Stevens‘s 1965 film The Greatest Story Ever Told, Longinus is identified with the Centurion who professed, “Truly this man was the Son of God” on Golgotha. This moment of conversion was portrayed by John Wayne in a cameo role.

Longinus is a leading character in the 2005 4-issue comic The Light Brigade by DC comics. The comic takes place in 1944 during World War II and features an immortal Longinus doomed to walk the Earth to atone for his deed by fighting fallen angels and their allies.

Casca Rufio Longinus, in a popular series entitled Casca by Barry Sadler, accidentally ingests some of Christ’s blood after lancing him. He is condemned by Christ to walk the earth as a soldier until they meet again at the Second Coming.

Moriones Festival in Marinduque

Longinus and his legend are the subject of the annual Moriones Festival held during Holy Week on the island of Marinduque, the Philippines.

The “Moriones” are men and women in costumes and masks replicating the garb of biblical Roman soldiers as interpreted by local folks. The Moriones tradition has inspired the creation of other festivals in the Philippines where cultural practices or folk history is turned into street festivals.

The mask was named after the 16th and 17th Century Morion helmet. The masked and costumed penitents march around the town for 7 days searching for Longinus, scaring the kids, or engaging in antics or surprises to draw attention.

More from the Moriones Festival

The festival is characterized by colorful Roman costumes, painted masks and helmets, and brightly colored tunics. The towns of Boac, Gasan, Santa Cruz, Buenavista and Mogpog in the island of Marinduque become a gigantic stage.

We hope you enjoyed today’s journey from Soldier to Saint. Stop back again soon to see where we’ll be or what we’ll being doing.

Till next time, Don’t Stop Rome-ing!

 

References:

Bunson, M. Encyclopedia of the Roman Empire. Facts on File, 1994. ISBN 0-8160-2135-X.

Clarke, Howard W. The Gospel of Matthew and Its Readers: A Historical Introduction to the First GospelIndiana University Press, 2003. ISBN 0-253-34235-X.

Godwin, Malcolm. The Holy Grail: Its Origins, Secrets & Meaning Revealed. Viking Penguin, 1994. ISBN 0-670-85128-0.

Sniadach, Keith. Relics of God: A Supernatural Guide to Religious Artifacts, Sacred Locations & Holy Souls. Keith Sniadach, 2010.

Torretto, Richard. A Divine Mercy Resource: How to Understand the Devotion to Divine Mercy. iUniverse, 2010.

John 19:34

Mark 15:39

Matthew 27:54

Cinco, Maricar. “Last of Moriones mask makers looking for heirs”. Philippine Daily Inquirer. 13 April 2014.

One of the Philippines most Colorful Festivals

The Reliquary of Saint Longinus

Catholic Forum: St. Longinus

St. Longinus

Catholic-Saints St. Longinus